The Atlantic Wire released a list of the "25 Most Wonderful Book Covers of the Year" today, and local artist Nathan Durfee is among the winners — though he's not officially recognized. Compiled by "YA for Grownups" columnist Jen Doll and a few of her bookish friends, the list includes works by popular YA authors like David Levithan, Lois Lowry, and Colin Meloy. Durfee illustrated Natalie Standiford's The Secret Tree. "This childlike but clearly skilled illustrative quality just tugs at the heartstrings, for me at least," Doll writes. We love the idea of the round-up, but we wish the article had actually given credit to all of the artists responsible for these great covers. Check it out here.
The first Wednesday of every month, Social Restaurant + Wine Bar expands its usual focus from food and libations to include art. The Starving Artists Series, which turns two on Nov. 7, highlights local artists and designers.
The upcoming event features works by resident artists Jason Davis, Patch Whisky, and Ben Sellers as well as photography from Bob Ailstock, Sandy Logan, and Candice Bizzell. There will also be jewelry from Soyez Sage Studios, shoes from Bangs Shoes, and music from the band Hotter than July.
The free event starts at 7 p.m., and the music starts at 9:30 p.m. Call (843) 577-5665 or go to socialwinebar.com for more.
Inspired by his 2008 project at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Colin Quashie is planning a new public mural for Charleston. Much like the Chapel Hill project, which honored the "missing history" of African and Native Americans in N.C., he wants the local mural to honor the contributions of African Americans to the history of Charleston. He and a group of local historians have selected a group of 24 African Americans to be considered for the mural, including Denmark Vesey, Philip Simmons, Daniel Joseph Jenkins, and Robert Smalls.
Though he's still waiting on the official go-ahead, Quashie is hoping to paint the mural at MUSC's Women's Health Center on Cannon Street. He hopes to start the project in early 2013 with an unveiling later that year.
Keep an eye on Quashie's blog for updates. He might also be using Kickstarter to raise funds.
Although City Gallery’s exhibit Mermaids and Merwomen in Black Folklore has been on view for a week now, the opening weekend events are just ramping up, with the opening reception happening on Sat. Sept. 8. We ran a preview of the show in this week’s paper, and we also spoke to curator Cookie Washington a bit about the rise of mermaids in pop culture.
“Interest in mermaids is at an all-time high,” Washington says, citing YA “mer-fiction,” the mocumentary Mermaids: The Body Found, and mermaid blogs written by women who claim to be mermaids. There’s also “the fact that the U.S. government had to issue a statement telling the American public that, ‘no, mermaids aren’t real!’” Washington says.
She even dug up this entry in Christopher Columbus’ diary from 1493: “The day before, when the Admiral was going to the Rio del Oro, he said he saw three mermaids who came quite high out of the water but were not as pretty as they are depicted, for somehow in the face they look like men. He said that he saw some in Guinea on the coast of Manegueta.”
“This exhibition is for mermaids to come out of the realm of Disney-ana cuteness or beautiful, sexy, but dangerous Siren, and for people to learn that in many African cultures, the worship of mermaids and water spirits pre-dates the worship of Jesus Christ by over 2,000 years,” she says. “I want people to be amazed, amused, delighted by the glorious art in this show, but I also want them to learn something.”
Washington has plenty of events planned throughout the course of the exhibit, including several lectures. Check out opening weekend events after the jump:
The Halsey is now offering free smartphone-powered audio tours of their exhibitions. The gallery premiered the feature at this summer’s Return to the Sea exhibition, and it’s all set up for F. Scott Hess’ Paternal Suit exhibit, which opens Fri. Aug. 24. QR codes will be placed throughout the exhibition, offering more in-depth stories and anecdotes about various pieces.
Don’t have a smartphone? The Halsey has a couple of iPod touches they’ll lend out to luddites.
“Any way we’re able to present information in a different format is always going to be a good thing,” says Lizz Biswell, curator of education and public programs. “This addresses another learning style or another way that people would prefer to receive their information. It makes it more accessible.”
The Paternal Suit audio tours won’t be available until after opening weekend, but Hess will be at Friday’s opening, and he’ll also host an exhibit walk-through on Sat. Aug. 25 at 2 p.m. Find out more here.